Shadows of Gaea

Orcs and Crazy Cat Ladies

Kiedro and Thorus speak with some of the townsfolk fleeing the Orcs, saying we would take care of the Orcs, and asking if we could get some papers helping to give us some legitimacy within the city. They said they should be able to work something out if the guard captain is around.

We finish bandaging our wounds and finish climing the stairs, after readying ourselves for the encounter ahead.

When we approach the top, we see two Orc brothers, with wicked crosbow/sword combinations. They appear ready for us, and they address us saying they were hoping we’d make it past the “grunts”

I tell ,them how it was obvious the “grunts were trained by these two, as easilly as they fell.” They say they will be sure to tell the commander we are still alive, after they kill our comrades.

The first backs up a couple stairs and fires a massive bolt into the crowd, missing Lecarde.

Lecarde moves up and disappears. Vines sprout up around the other sargeant, entangling him in in the vines, following up with his firehawk on him, missing with this attack.

He then fires at Kiedro, missing wildly, getting out of the vines restraining him. I then charge the other orc, slamming my shield into him, which sends him sprawling agains the railing, falling onto the floor.

Fenrir moves into position, and Kiedro charges the one I knocked down, burying his axe into him, with a viscious attack.

Lorthandrial fails to goad the orc in the vines to move where he wishes. As several hyenas charge at us from within the shaded huts, attacking me and Kiedro.

Another orc emerges from the hut, he appears to be a taskmaster, based on the flail and whips he carries, goes out and attacks Kiedro from behind, hitting him with a near cripling attack.

The orc who I knocked prone, stands up and attacks Kiedro, hitting him, and healing himself in the process. Thorus helps soften the attack on Kiedro, so he doesn’t look quite so close to death.

Lecarde blasts the group of us, hitting dealing a large amount of damage to all of the hyenas. I then move for better position, and pull them into me, finishing a couple hyenas and then I follow up on the newly bloodied beast master and finish him with my comeback strike, healing myself in the process.

Fenrir attempts the same manuver, only hitting one of the hyenas. Kiedro then attacks the orc, taking an attack from the hyena.

Lorthandrial pulls the other orc back into the vine zone created by Lecarde, and heals Kiedro.

The hyenas and the task master dies to Fenrir’s blows as he attempts an action. Thorus moves up and casts his magic weapon, hitting nd giving the bonuses to me and Fenrir.

The headband guy shifts around Kiedro, hitting him three times. Thankfully Kiedro had steeled himself against any possible incoming damage, softening each blow.

Lecarde shifts and charges the Orc within his zone of vines, grasping onto him. The orc he attacked calls forth some more hyenas, who surround and attack Lecarde, rending into his flesh, and the orc in the vines also lays into Lecarde, healing himself.

I charge one of the hyena’s knockin him into the vines, shifting in I then knock him down. A new task master comes out and bloodies me with an attack.

Fenrir then lures the bandanaed orc in, hitting him with solid blow, follows him up with another footwork lure, missing this time.

Kiedro tries to reinvigorate himself with another attack on the orc Fenrir is focusing on, dropping him. Kiedro charges one of the hyenas attacking him twice, the first was a mean strike cutting him in half, with the second strike finishing him off.

Lorthandrial heals me, and crits the orc in the vines, also healing Lecarde. Thorus moves his punishing eye, and heals Kiedro, and misses the hyena with his magic weapon attack.

Lecarde tries to gnaw on the orc he was on, who deflects the attack, and Lecarde then summons forth a mass of pure darkness.

A couple of the hyenas attack me and Kiedro hitting both of us. The orc Lecarde was on, moves out of the darkness and attacks Thorus, sinking a crossbow bolt into his soft flesh.

The task master counters my attack, and shifts away, which I smash him, shoving him into the darkenss and follow him. He then shifts within the darkness and hits Lecarde, bloodying him severely.

Fenrir moves up to the orc who had moved out of the darkness, missing him, and he counter attacks Fenrir, hitting him. At this time he notices his brother was killed, so urges the eagles to flee and warn the captain of his death.

Kiedro charges him, leaving a large gash on his chest, bloodying him.

The beast master calls out a couple more hyenas, who rush out and start chewing on Thorus.

Lorthandrial pulls him closer with his punishing words, and then blasts him again, pulling him through the vine zone, leaving him just inside the darkness. Thorus then attacks him with a burst attack from outside the darkness, giving Lecarde some addtional temporary health, and giving him a burst of adrenaline.

Lecard moves and shoots his thorns into the group of orcs and hyenas, hitting all but the last remaining brother, and shifts back into his true form.

Two of the hyenas then go after Lecard, each hitting him. The remaining brother than shifts around me, hitting me twice, finally shifting next to Lecarde, who shoves him away, preventing the attack, he then shoots Lecarde dropping him to near death.

Fenrir moves up killing the taskmaster, but missing the last remaining orc. He then uses the belt he borrowed from Kiedro to heal Lecarde, bringing him back from the brink of death. The hyenas chew further on Thorus.

Lorthandrial killed one of the hyenas with hi crossbow. Thorus pulls out his dagger, and misses one of the hyenas on him, while th other nips at his heals, bringing him closer to death, he then wisely decides to heal himself.

Lecarde then stands and misses the last orc, who attempts to strike him back, but is cut down by Fenrir before he can complete the attack. I try throwing a dagger at the little orc climbing on the last bird, but I miss him.

Fenrir moves up and attacks two of the remaining hyenas, hitting one of them, but missing the other.

The last little orc gets away on the bird, since Kiedro was unable to finish him off while he was sitting on the back of the bird.

Lorthandril finishes one of the hyenas, Thorus finishes a second, so there is only one left. Lecarde and I smash the last remaining hyena.

3350 exp
1000gp
Healer’s Broach +2

We spend a little time searching and healing before heading off to meet with Grandma. The two guards come back with the papers they promised, but note we are wanted by the guard and he doesn’t know how much the papers will help while we are still wanted.

Fenrir and Thorus try to leisurely walk across the street, drawing some attention from some of the Dragonborn guards, while Lorthandrial moves around and asks the group of halflings to distract the guards so the party can cross.

The guards move to intercept Fenrir and Thorus, Fenrir then trips Thorus, sending him sprawling. At this point the halfling barrel into the back of the guards knees, knocking them down, as we then sprint past them. Thorus ends up coming back and brings the guards on us, so we break off into a dead run trying to get away from them. we were able easily outpace the guards.
400xp

We come upon a couple halflings and ask them take us to Grandma. They blindfold us, and we take a mine cart through several twists and turns before finally arriving at a door, from which we get a strong sent of cat piss and shit.

We enter the door, seeing the room full of cats, and Grandma sitting behind a massive wooden desk. She then asks Lorthandril what brought him back to the city.

Grandma offers information on Siserin in exchange for assistance with another guild hitting her merchants when they are on their way to pay their ‘respects to her.’ She also mentions to us that, if we complete this task for her, she can try to find some items we may be wanting to purchase, and give us a bit of a discount.

We go to help catch whoever is jumping Grandma’s merchants5. On the way we are invited into several tavers by people who want to have a drink with us for our killing of the dragonborn guards. Thorus tells one of them we are going to kill some more guards, which sends one into the tavern excitedly proclaiming our intetion to other drinkers.

Ahead we see the merchant, being harrassed by some brigands, and off to the side, Carver calls us over, and warns us to not be too trusting of Grandma. He asks us to meet him tomorow night by the river, as he may have a way for us to get on the good side with the Pharoh.

Fenrir 85 5
Gruudash 81 9
Kiedro 61 all
Lecarde 60 5
Lorthandril 62 5
Thorus 63 all

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Some Unexpected Vengence

The corpse’ were strewn about the square, theirs & ours. Thorus was tending to Kiedro as the rest of us quickly went through the pockets of the guards laying there. The crowd began to slowly close in on us, some cheering others scowling at what we have done. As this happened Fenrir made the unfortunate decision to try to get the rest of the crowd on our side.

Thinking quickly I stepped to the fore & raised my hands to get the attention of the crowd, ‘Good people of the thieves quarter, how often have you had your ‘lawfully’ earned money taken by these thieving dragonborn scum? Taking the needed nourishment from your women & children? Leaving them to suffer the pangs of hunger? They sought nothing but a fight, how many good citizens carry 1000 gold on themselves at any time? Obviously they sought an easy mark to roll to suppliment their pay, allowing them to live in the lap of luxury while you good people suffer in the streets. I think it’s only fair that the ill gotten gains of this crew of brigands be returned to the people they stole it from.’ With that I moved over to the corpse of the guard captain & began to throw gold into the air & at the crowd. (-150 gold)

As we began to make our way through the press of bodies trying to get the gold we were approached by what at first looked to be two dirty children, but at closer examination they were Halflings dressed up to look like children. ‘Quickly’ they said ‘ follow us, we’ll take you to grandmother’. As we ran through the maze of back ally ways we quickly became lost in the jumble. Running past an alchemical building Grudash & Spencer came to an abrupt halt, they both had a quizzical look on their face as if they heard something, but couldn’t place it. When Grudash looked into the back door he saw an old orc woman speaking to the proprietor of the ‘Leaking Caldron’. Thorus; eyes immediately got large & he began to rub his hands in delight.

Quickly forming a plan Grudash moved around to the front door while Thorus went in through the back as if he was a customer to get a closer look & do some shopping. As he took a once over at her & her items he noticed several vials that appeared to be of the same black goo we’ve encountered before. She tried to make her way out of the store, but stopped at the front door when she started to sniff the air, ‘You have the stink of slave on you, it’s a smell I know well’. At this moment Grudash burst in the front door & charged her, he took massive swing at her neck, but his rage at her caused him miss. At the same moment Spencer shot an arrow into her spine causing her to collapse to the ground. While Grudash & Spencer wrapped her in a few bags to hide her Thorus went to the proprietor & gathered the list of items she was looking for while he paid him off for his silence.

Back in the ally the Halflings quickly took us to an abandoned & down into a cellar where we were able to question our captive. Grudash attempted to get some information from her by pulling a tooth, but she seemed to almost relish the pain. However when Thorus brought a vial of the black liquid over to her and wondered aloud at what this would do to her, she had a look of fear cross her face. Only when Thorus threatened to poor the liquid in her wound did she break & give us information on her party in the city. We gathered that Krun & Bhan were hear with a slaving band dropping off their latest catch. Both Grudash & Spencer shared a look that could only promise death to anyone that stood in their way of getting to these two. With a bit more interrogation we found that they were going to get eagle rides back to the Great Woods shortly. Thorus found out that she got her black vials from a group of elves & humans that were paying for her experiments on her captives.

After a brief discussion if we should go to Grandma or the Fighting Quarter, Grudash & Spencer made it clear they are going for revenge weather we join them or not. I wrote a brief note to Grandma explaining our absence & gave it to the Halflings to deliver. They in return gave us quick route to get to the shortest route to our quarry. When we got the roadway there was an old man trying to load a cart with large clay jugs. Lecarde offered our assistance in loading & unloading the cart, seeing how large it was we decided to load the cart & hide in the back to make our way across. Fenrir, Grudash, Kiedro, & I all successfully loaded our jugs while Thorus & Spencer managed to break theirs. Once across we quickly unloaded the cart & made our way through the back allys to the flight grounds. Once there we saw the two brothers on a flight pad about 30 feet above us reading a scroll. They looked down at us & invited us up to ‘talk about it’ as they moved further back into the flight complex we looked around & saw several of their orc minions drawing their swords & moving toward us.

As far as fighting grounds go I could hope for better grounds, the rope bridges looked to be fairly encumbering. Neither of the routes looked very promising & per our usual want we immediately split up to make our way on both sides. Grudash & Lecarde opened our salvo by charging charging up to the left. One of their ranged threw a smoke pot of some sort at Lecarde leaving a cloud of some sort. Kiedro knocked prone the orc Grudash attacked as he entered one of his rages. Thorus followed up on the same one with his new crossbow as he stepped out of Kiedro’s armor. I attempted to pull the caster off of his perch that Lecarde had attacked earlier, while I did hit him, he was knocked down, but not off his perch to the ground. Fenrir went aid Lecarde while I was left in the middle to cover both sides. Another of their artillery threw a ball of sticky glue slowing both Kiedro & Thorus, while Grudash managed to dodge the splash, however he did follow this up with a vial of acid to Kiedro’s face splashing on all of those around him. After taking more range damage Thorus healed Grudash, Kiedro, & Spencer giving Grudash what can only be called an overpowered bit of health.

Lecarde shifted to his wolf form & struck an orc that had fallen at Fenrir’s feet in an attempt to charge him, it seemed to keep him pinned to the ground. We traded a few more shots in which Fenrir & Lecarde were weakened & Lecarde was bloodied. Kiedro charged back across the field to assist Lecarde, taking an opportunity attack that inflicted damage, however Grudash was also able to attack the attacker knocking him prone also. Kiedro’s charge across the field successfully knocked the other orc prone. Thorus followed Kiedro by again walking out of his armor & & attacked one of the artillery granting Kiedro, Fenrir & Lecarde his ‘magic weapon’. I was able to pull one of the artillery down from his perch to the ground causing him to fall prone & taking some extra damage & bloodying him in the process. Fenrir was able to cleave both of the orcs on the ground before him, but it was greatly reduced as he was slill weakened from an attack he had taken earlier, but after his attacks he was able to shrug it off. Seeing that several of our fighters were bunched up again another of the artillery threw his glue & stink bombs hitting Fenrir, Kiedro, Thorus, & Lecarde. The last of the artillery struck Thorus with a vial of acid dropping him to the ground. Lecarde pushed the orc by him away shifted back & disappeared. After having another orc fall at is feet from a failed charge Kiedro healed Thorus allowing Thorus to heal Kiedro in return, while he did manage to make a critical hit on the artillery I had pulled down. I healed Lecarde & moved in to help Grudash finish off his his target, but I wasn’t to hit him.

Fenrir pulled out all of the stops & critically struck both of the orcs at his feet bloodying them both & followed it up with another strike that finished one of them off, but not the other, however it was hanging on by a thin thread. After another stink bomb was thrown at the group the last of the artillery missed Thorus with his vial of acid. Lecarde made his reappearance & moved out of the cloud of stink. An artillery hit Kiedro with acid & the splash nearly killed Thorus, but he managed to hang on by a thread. Fenrir was knocked off his feet by an attack, but Kiedro finished him off with an overhand chop the the head. I expended my last heal on Fenrir & managed to hit the orc in front of Grudash reducing his defenses. After another round of artillery bombardments Grudash struck the orc in front of the two of us & moved himself into combat advantage. Kiedro jumped the fence to start his charge on the artillery on the ground which Thorus continued to pound from afar with his crossbow. I was able to finish off the orc in front of me & moved after the orc who has been throwing his axes at us.

Fenrir continued his slow charge around to the right & Lecarde followed shifting into wolf form & charged the orc fleeing from Fenrir, knocking him prone & immobilizing him. Kiedro was again slowed by the artillery he was trying catch-up to, however Thorus finished him off with his crossbow. I pulled the axe thrower back to Grudash & I, inflicting some minor damage & positioning him to give Grudash & I advantage on him. The orc Lecarde had grabbed onto managed to push him away & crawled off, but failed to hit him in return. After a few ranged bombardments that slowed Grudash & I he & I finished off the axe thrower between us. Thorus, Fenrir, & Lecarde continued to chase after the axe thrower crawling away from them, causing mimimal damage until Fenrir drew him in & struck him. Kiedro started to slowly make his way over to the wall to climb up after the artillery that has been throwing glue bombs & acid at us. After another round of chasing the remaining artillery toward the top of the flight towers the fire-hawks of Lecarde finished off one of the artillery & the last axe thrower we kept next to Fenrir. Grudash slowly continued to make his way with me toward the last bomb thrower who continued to try to shift away, however Thorus, Lecarde & I finished him off with a combination ranged attacks that finished him off before he could make it to a mount. Fenrir then finished off the last axe thrower before us. A quick search of them found 900 gold (2550 xp).

Lecarde 1 15hp
Lorthandrial 3 32hp
Thorus 4 16hp
Spenser 5 56hp
Kiedro 8 42hp
Gruudash 3 73hp
Fenrir 2 60hp

Norfire 2 fullhp
Kildrak 1 56hp
Mylus 1 full hp
Solendiar full
Talon 1 155hp

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Hot in the city

After gathering up some uniforms from the guards that we dispatched the group decided it was best if we moved out of the area. We then thought it best to buy some clothes and supplies if we were to blend in with the locals. After picking up the supplies we then saw a small shack that had the smell of food coming from it. After stepping in and grabbing some grub Thumbs was caught by a masked man sitting by himself at a table in the corner. Upon closer inspection we noticed that the man had an insignia of the Pathfinders. The man removed his mask and we were shocked to see Grim, Woodland Protector. Fenrir saw this and bolted out the door. Grim noticed this and wanted to follow but first had to give us an update. We needed to find Siserin who hasn’t been seen in about 5 days. He also told us we need to request an audience with the Pharaoh to request help with this darkness.

We next decided to head to the Thieves district to find Grandmother (Morrigan) of the pin-prick guild. She is our contact and may help us in our quest.

After an odd attempt to cross into the Thieves district we realize that we were not as successful as we had hoped. It seemed as though we may make it, Lorth disguised himself as a local merchant and Gruudash and I tried to appear to be his guards (We’re guards!!!). Thorus was the pencil pusher that does the accounting for Lorth. Poor Kiedro got stuck pretending to be the slave and Lecadre did his usual shape change and took the form of a dog. Some dragonborn guards found us to be a little suspicious and decided to follow us. After trying to lose them in the alleys we decided there really was no where to hide so Lecarde and I decided to hide in a doorway while the rest stopped so that we could try and talk our way out of it. After trying to tax us for 1,000g to pass unmolested we decided to save our cash and fight our way out.

After getting flanked we fought our way out and was able to dispatch the guards to the surprise of the crowd. After a quick search we discovered 208g and a Battle Harness +2 (3100xp).

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What a long strange trip it's been.

A mile away from civilization, and we may as well be a hundred.  I know I’m not very well traveled, but what city of this size is so hostile to travelers, and what do they have to worry about out here in the middle of nowhere, that they have to surround this massive city, with two rings of towers, none being further than 150 feet apart, all manned with guards patrolling between each tower, and all within 200 feet of the city walls.
 
What we figure out, after some discussion between Fenris, Lecarde and myself, is we want to sneak by the guard towers at night, but then attempt to enter the city during the day, so as the gate guards will be much more hostile during the night.  I recommended we have Lecarde call on the spirits to help him make a campsite, to hide us from the guards during the night.
+100xp
 
The plan we decided on, was to first use the onyx dog to maul a guard, then we’ll have the large oil explosion, which was set-off by a slow burning fuse, then we would have thumbs take one remaining flask, with a fuse to blow up next to one of the towers, using the resulting confusion to slip through, to the city walls.
 
Of course Thorus fucks up making the bombs, and they don’t go off, so we plant our dicks in the dirt, hoping they don’t see us.  Just before they get to us, a huge explosion lights up the sky, and we make a dash closer, and Lecarde takes off with Thumbs, to setup the small bomb near the final tower.
 
We proceed to bury ourselves in the sand, as Lecarde makes the campsite.  Kiedro catches the attention of a guard momentarily, before he continues on his patrol, not noticing enough to warrant his investigation.
 
As day comes, we decide to enter the city, before the guard towers get a fresh set of guards.
 
Fenris tries to force himself on them, saying he is trying to gain entrance to find work as a warrior within the city, which pisses them off, as they don’t appreciate him trying to intimidate them, the townsman who was outside, helps him, by passing it as a joke, then Thorus steps in, asking the guards to excuse him as being a stupid oaf, taking them a little off edge.  
 
Lecarde tells them how he was sent to search for some cactus that is used for healing and sustaining some person he knows within the city, who the guard informs him, has been dead for 7 years.  While trying to come up with a reason why he has been gone for over 7 years, Thorus pipes in again, about how he joined up with him finding alchemical items, showing them his samples.
 
They then question Kiedro, who say he is going to be a bouncer, and he proceeds to pick up Fenris, who punches him in the ear, as he drops him on the ground behind him.
 
I then try convincing them I am a bodyguard for Thorus, since he needs one the way he keeps butting into everyone’s business.  I try to show them my strength by opening myself to them giving them free shot, when Fenris blindsides me, knocking me to the ground, causing them to laugh some more.  I then show them my skill with a blade, by giving Fenris a close shave with my sword, nicking him very slightly, but no more than he would if he ever tried to shave himself.
 
Thorus, after overhearing the guards that they will make a commission off turning the slavers onto us, tells them, if they want their commission, tell their contacts that we will be staying at the inn closest to the entrance, and they can try to take us from there.  The townsman, says he will keep an eye on us, to make sure we don’t leave the inn, which prompts them to let us in.
 
We then follow him into the city.  (2100 exp)
This is a massive city, I have never seen anything like this, the main road is huge, almost 50 yards wide, and packed with more of these people, all appear to be the same race, those native to this desert. There is a large statue of some sort of warrior, wearing full battle garb, covered with robes and a giant mask, looking like the head of a tiger, made of gold. This is another type of guard it appears, we had previously seen the guards with the head of and vulture and a jackal, being the high guard and the low guard. We see a high guard leading a troop of guards down the road, as we quickly move to the merchant, waving us over.

We then follow him down this side street, and into a run-down building. So-far he has been helpful, hopefully that doesn’t change now. After we enter, he takes off his veil, and reveals himself to be a half-elf, giving the name of carver. He says he has been here for 6 or 7 years now, and proceeds to instruct us on how we need to change our appearance to try blending in, or we will be enslaved.

He proceeds to tell us how the city is run by the pharaoh, who rules with an iron fist. He asks us what we are doing here, but we are still a little leery, wanting to know more about him before we give him too much information.

He tells us how he took over his father’s business as a map maker, making maps of different cities, and he has been stuck here since arriving, due to muggings, and he has since needed to change his business, becoming a gatherer, of materials and information for some of the less reputable people within the city.

We offer to exchange him some of our maps, for a map of the city from him. He leads us upstairs, and gives us a map of the city, telling us if we need to find him, we can try reaching him in the Thieves district, near the common watering whole. We then ask him where we can get some clothing to try blending in, it is just at that moment that we hear some shouting outside, and guards burst in through the door, indicating they were looking for us, as they attempt to capture us.

One of the guards is wielding a nasty spike tipped spear, another in robes has a large scythe, and the other two have two katars each.

They manage to get a bit of a jump on us, though the appear to be waiting for something, I don’t know if it is us, or the caster with them.

Fenris starts off throwing his hand-ax at them, but he’s not quite accurate with his throw. Lecarde attacks the caster, hitting him. Kiedro then proceeds to jump off the edge, falling on the ground, and missing one of the katar wielding guards. The red cloaked guy then delays, and I move down stairs, charging the caster, missing with my shield bash. The caster teleports away, getting knocked down by Lecarde’s spell effect, and tries to blast me with a sphere of black flame, hitting me with the attack, shrouding me in gloom.

Thorus conjures up his punishing eye, and misses with his crossbow. The spear wielder moves up to me, and starts spinning his spear, and shifting across the room, missing me, and hitting Kiedro as he attacks his way across the room. Kiedro is then attacked by the guard next to him, who easily sinks his katars into his rocky side, Thorus helping using his magic to shield him, and strengthen him after the attack. Fenris moves downstairs positioning himself next to two of the guards.

Lecarde vanishes, and attacks the two guards next to Fenris, hitting the one next to Kiedro. Kiedro drags his ass up from the floor, and charging the caster, laying into him with a wicked blow.

The guard in red then opens up on Fenris, and I move round the guard by me, and pull 3 of them next to me, but miss with all of my attacks. The caster then stands and hits me with his scythe, shrouding me in darkness again.

Thorus heals Kiedro, and hits one of the guards with his magic weapon.

The spear guy then hits all 3 of us on the floor, as he shifts his way across the room again, spinning his spear. One one of the guards, says something making his katar glow, and hits me, causing my muscles to nearly lockup. Fenris then pulls them all in, and unleashes two viscous attacks, killing the caster, and bloodying the remaining guards.

Lecarde blasts the area with another one of his powers, and proceeds to attack again, killing all but the spear wielding guard. I throw a dagger at the spear guard, and gain the ability to move again. Thorus heals me, and removes the gloom. 3 more guards enter the room, from the other side and engage us.

The newly arrived dual wielder moves into the room, as the original spear wielder, spins his spear again, and shifts to the bottom of the stairs, landing a solid hit on me, and hitting Kiedro as well. He then heads up the stairs trying to get to Thous and Lecarde.

Fenris intercepts the new guards, missing the katar wielding guard, though missing him.

Lecarde grows bark over his skin, shifts into a wolf and charges the guard that is trying to get to him and Thorus, pouncing on him, ripping out his throat, making him fall lifelessly down the stairs.

Kiedro charges up next to Fenris, hitting the twin bladed guard solidly. The new caster then shoots a magical net at me, restraining me and obscuring my vision.

The new spear man shifts through the group engaging them, and hits Fenris. Fenris is then hit and restrained by the dual wielder, who then teleports away. Fenris then misses badly with his hand ax

Lecarde moves to the edge of the upstairs, and attacks the caster and spear man, hitting the mage, but missing the spear man, who Kiedro then tries to attack, sinking his ax into him with a wicked blow. The mage then casts his net at Lecarde, missing him, then falls prone behind the crates.

I gather myself, and manage to get out of the magical net that was restraining me. The spear man then eats an attack from Fenris as he shifts past him, trying to attack all 3 of us, scoring a sound strike on Kiedro, and hitting Fenris slightly, bloodying Kiedro. Thorus then proceeds to miss the dual wielder with another attack, who then comes up to attack me, but I am able to fend off both attacks.

Kiedro bolsters himself with his next attack, dropping the spear man, and quickly charges the guard on me, hitting him with a decent attack, bolstering himself further. The caster then catches Kiedro in his magical net.

I lay into the dual wielder with two decent attacks, landing both of them, bloodying him. Who returns fire on both me and Kiedro, hitting us both. Fenris tosses his ax at the mage again, bouncing it off of a crate, missing him again, and is still unable to get out of the magical net holding him.

Lecarde shrouds himself in darkness, and attacks the mage, hitting him with his typical attack. Kiedro attacks and misses the guard between us, and gets out of the net. The mage runs out of the building and down the alley, getting away. While Thorus misses the last remaining guard, who then hits me, while Fenris strengthens his resolve, and attempts to free himself from the net, finally getting out.

Lecarde hustles down the stairs, jumping the final 10 feet and charging the guard, knocking him into lifeless mass on the floor. We do a quick search and strip the guards, before getting out of dodge quickly

3000 exp and 200 gp

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My Eyes Betray Me

From the fatigued mind of Thoris Bakerson

The desert has been cruel and unrelenting. I’m near death, barely able to move yet I pushed along and brisk pace every night. The hallucinations I’ve been experiencing have worsened due too my mental fatigue. Charlie, Carl and Louis the geckos, coincidentally the names of unfriendly classmates back in Silvermoon Academy, lie dead at the mouth of a cave that we have claimed for our own use.

Standing atop the ravine the ominous City of Rah’dune towers to our southeast, less than half a days travel at our slow pace. Both Lecarde and Fenrir scale to the highest point of the cliff to gaze upon the city. I remember, what I could remember due to the heatstroke I was experiencing, that climbing such a cliff while hallucinating as much as we were was unwise, but I was too in a daze to mention, though they likely knew that I would normally advise against.

The city itself sits on a plateau of what seems to be an obsidian rock, its walls and towers black and weathered from the heat. Only one entrance can be seen, although a city of this size, the second largest I have gazed upon after my home of Silvermoon, would have several more and potential secret entrances that we are unlikely to find. This entrance is guarded by two massive towers that loom over the entrance as well as what seems to be a platoon of guards. Outside the walls a skirt of defensive towers encircle the city with many patrols weaving between them. In my state of weary, I am unable to devise a plan of entrance that would not end in bloodshed.

Seeking alternatives, we ask out prisoner Alla’hook on what he would devise as well as details about the city. Alla’hook was somewhat helpful, we learned that his tattoo signified his House and Lineage as well as there would be documents we could forge in case we get stopped by guards. Keidro asks about alternate entrances and learns the layout of the city, as well as a entrance near the military district; not a plausible entrance for us.

Francis the phantom, the reoccurring sign of our extreme heatstroke, calls for us at the corpses of his unruly family. Everything about Francis seems odd, offputing of sorts. I pay no heed to the hallucination. Instead I keep watch on Alla’hook while I begin maintenance on Thumbs, sand and grime have been slowing is gears, prematurely grinding the teeth. I assess his inner clockwork; one bevel gear has ground completely down needs to be replaced and the cage gear near the arcane reserve has slipped a disc and needs reassembly. As I begin work Alla’hook looks on in fascination and begins to ask me questions about how the mechanism work. I proudly show him as I open Thumbs completely and reveal its arcane heart, part of my magical lifeforce that powers Thumbs.

Francis reveals that he is an agent of Gaea and much like Shayd and will help us return the mortal realm if we can defeat his inner evil. I know not if it was the heat nor the fact that my opinion would have been ignored, but I reluctantly agreed that we should enter melee with Francis, although I still believed him to be an apparition.

The cave provided shelter from the harmful sun but the heat remains, stale from the lack of wind. Sleep, the forty-five minutes I did sleep, was unsatisfying. My condition worsened during the night and I have contracted some sort of disease that I have named Desert Smite. I became lightheaded, I felt even weaker than before and atop my hallucinations my vision became blurred as if I weren’t wearing my glasses. The rest of the party seemed in high spirits, shrugging off many signs of their heatstroke.

Day seven had came and after some dried camel meat we decided to let Alla’hook go as he has been helpful and we wish him well. I gave him a Nephilium Warhammer, a pound of dried camel meat and my thanks for his help. He was honored to have traveled with us and wished us success and will leave after we slay Francis’ evil spirits.

Francis appeared as he said he would and after a moment to prepare he began to transform. Once again my eyes deceive me as he forms into a large gold dragon and the entire ravine shatters under his feet, large pillars of onyx erupt from the ground and large crevices form around him. A grueling battle began.

The fight was intense, Francis never stayed in one spot, he was able to teleport every 2 seconds and seem to be an expert a such tactics. Weaving in and out of the pillars he stayed out of our range whilst bringing us to the brink of death. During the fight I had fallen and when I awoke there was no sign of Francis. Instead the desert had changed, we were no longer in the shadowfell. The city of Rah’dune had towers of copper, not onyx. Lecarde began to scout ahead while I forged documents in case we get exposed.

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Break yourself against her will!

After having just survived the Mamuke’s attack on our party we decided to rest while we hoped to heal the ailing camels, allowing us to make quicker travel through this harsh desert. We hadn’t been resting long when Kiedro shouts, “Do you see it?” as he is pointing to an outcropping of trees in the distance. Longing to sate our thirst, we decide to make our way to the oasis, hoping that it is not just an image of the desert. Kiedro has the foresight to grab our gear which makes me think, “Maybe this one isn’t a complete fool!” Once we get to the oasis we realize that this is one of the deserts challenges and we have to decide how best to approach it.

Day 4 – The Oasis

Spenser is the first of us to decide, surrendering himself to the desert which in turn rewards him with enough water to quench his thirst, but leaving him feeling slightly off-tilt. Thorus, being the cerebral one, decides to test the water for cleanliness and to use his clear water solution. While he is waiting for the results the others don’t have that much patience. Lorthandriel and (from what I’ve gathered thus far in our journeys, his male companion) Lecarde chose to ignore this clear oasis water on the path to true sustenance, believing this to be more than meets the eye. As for myself, I surrendered to the desert, believing that appeasing the spirit would be a boon. I was so blessed in the fact that I was also able to gather some fresh water to soothe the burning in my throat. As Spenser before me though, I too felt this take something away from me and felt the weight of the desert settle even more upon my shoulders. Grudash…poor Grudash, this fine fellow took to filling his waterskin and gathering a big gulp of crystal blue, ice-cold water only to have the desert play his mind for a fool. He spits out a mouthful of sand and I can’t help but laugh to myself. Now, no adventure can be serious ALL the time, and this is where our minds cleared with the comedy of Kiedro. Our big Barbarian friend decides that he doesn’t want a drink, he wants the whole damn thing! He comes charging up to the oasis and goes flying into the air with all intent to land in the pool of water, instead he makes a big sand angel when the mirage vanishes before his eyes and he ends up face down in the unwelcoming sands.

After having passed the challenge of the desert, whether worse for the wear or not, we set up camp to rest until nightfall. Throughout the day the camels are attended to while those of us unskilled in the healing powers of nature lie around to try and recover a bit. While we are resting, Spenser looks over to me and calmly states, “Fenrir, do not be alarmed but there is a lizard on your shoulder.” I slowly crane my neck to see out of the corner of my eye a gecko staring at me, but this is no ordinary gecko! No my friends, this gecko appears to be golden with eyes of Ruby…a fetching sum if I can capture the little guy I must say! I slowly (cause I’m so stealthy…more on that later!) reach up to grab the gecko. It appears that I had snatched him but POOF! he appears on top of my head. Now, for the strangest part of my tale yet, he speaks to us! We learn from speaking with him that his name is Francis and he lives with his auntie and uncle, but often roams the desert looking for bugs and coins. Lorthandriel, being so always astute, takes particular notice of this last fact. When Francis darts over to his hand, Lorthandriel pulls a gold coin from his pocket and flips it, this entrances Francis who cannot look at anything but the coin now. Lorthandriel then uses his diplomacy skills to glean more information from Francis. We learn that Francis no longer lives with his auntie and uncle because his cousins are mean and have taken his stash of gold coins, refusing to return them. Francis also looks at the map and reveals to us that the symbol of the mother with child is for the Altar of the Mother, a place of worship and sanctuary in times past. He warns us that this place may now be riddled with danger and under attack. Before parting, Francis asks us to help him recover his stash of gold coins and if successful, he will share them with us. He informs us that his uncles name is Charlie, so perhaps we can parlay and get the coins back in a peaceful manner.

At this time, nightfall is drawing nigh, and we realize that our allies have been unsuccessful in restoring the camels to health. While this doesn’t help us in our travels, we realize the passing of the camels is also fortuitous to us as we are able to take the meat from their bones and the water and fat from their humps, giving us food and water for the travels awaiting us. Shortly after undertaking our journey once more there comes from the distance, in all directions, the faint sound of laughter. We all kind of glance around to make sure we aren’t going crazy but the others have heard it too…and hear it coming closer and closer. It is then we see them, the glowing yellow eyes piercing the darkness of night. Hyenas, the emissary of the desert. “Have you not challenged us enough already desert spirit? You send your emissaries to finish the job but that will not work!” I shout into the night, hoping to alert the spirit that we are not a band of souls to be hers.

Day 5 – The Laughter Medicine

As the hyenas encircle us, we realize that we must think quickly on how best to handle the situation, without much time to consult the group we all must make our own decision. Lecarde, that sniveling bitch, he transformed into a desert animal and ran away…“damn coward!” I think, but notice that a few of the blathering fools follow him. I think that perhaps I judged him too soon! Lorthandriel, he’s full of hot air so he appears to bluff the simple-minded dogs into thinking we are a much larger group and not the easy prey they seek. He succeeds in scaring another pack of the hyenas off. As I see Lecarde and Lorthandriel scare off a few of the dogs, I still think that there are just too many and there must be another way to best them. As I devise my plan, Thorus begins conjuring a towering, blazing inferno to scare the dogs away but as with many things…fails miserably! “I’ll have to pick up his slack” I say out loud, hearing a groan leave his lips…he realizes. While Thorus is standing there, looking defeated, Kiedro reaches into the sack Thorus carries and pulls out a giant meat-hook, a six foot chain, and a 5 lb. slab of meat and shouts, “Hope I catch me a big one!” He sends the hook into the darkness and yanks it back when he feels a nibble. He manages to pull a couple dogs in by the hook, but realizes the other 5 or 6 hyenas are in close pursuit. Kiedro makes quick work of all 8 hyenas, but is noticeably worse off. Grudash has a bit more luck with this challenge than the oasis and intimidates a pack of them into thinking they can find easier prey elsewhere. Lastly, Spenser and I once more offer ourselves to the desert, walking out into the night with 10 lb. of meat between us, throwing it to the remaining hyenas. They appear to be satisfied with this offering and leave our party to continue traveling through the night. While Spenser and I managed to save our group from the full assault of the pack, we are somehow more inflicted by the desert than the rest of our party who seem to actually prosper slightly. “How does the desert weigh so heavily on us” I ponder.

We haven’t made much progress during our 5th night as butchering the camels and the hyena attack hindered our movement. As the sun rises and we begin setting up camp, a few of the keener members in our party notice off in the distance, standing tall above the sands is a wall…this has to be Rahadun they exclaim! Even taller than the wall, contrasting starkly with the blue sky is an ominous-looking tower. We can see the spikes jutting out from sides of the onyx structure giving off quite the unfriendly vibe. We realize at this point that getting into Rahadun is going to be a bit tougher than we imagined.

Day 6 – The Desert Divide

We are awakened near dusk by the howling of the wind and the stinging sand biting into our flesh. A sandstorm, just what we needed…another one of the deserts challenges! We decide that we must push on, but Thorus, who appears to be cracking under the deserts spirit breaking will decides that he is better suited to hunker down and wait out the storm. He creates a makeshift windblock and hides behind it. The rest of us, being less of a bitch, decide to venture through the storm. Spenser and I once again surrender ourselves to the desert, which in turn grants our party unimpeded travel through the sandstorm, yet we both feel the desert once again tightening her grasp around our souls. Thinking to myself, “This is the last time I offer to surrender to the desert and help these other guys out, I am getting nothing in return!” We make decent headway through the night at this point, and as dawn approaches we can see a large crevasse up ahead. We make our way to the entrance where we start setting up camp. We are chatting as we set up the campsite and we all agree that we hope Thorus isn’t too far behind. You never know what dangers can befall a solo adventurer in these strange lands. While preparing camp, I can’t help but notice that about 100 yards further into the crevasse are what appear to be a bunch of dried up corpses. Now, I will be the first to admit that I’m one greedy S.O.B. so I stealthily make my way towards the bodies, unbeknownst to the group. While rifling through the corpses I hear overhead a loud, gurgling snarl…oh shit! This cannot be good! I look up just in time to see a large lizardman fling a spell my way. A cloud appears over my head and I begin getting pelted…by SALT! Oh god, he’s trying to suck the moisture from me, leaving me as one of these dried up corpses. Thankfully I am able to deflect it and avoid the mummification, but that is the least of my worries. Those dried-up corpses…well, they are not so much corpses anymore as they are now heading my way and trying to kill me! Hopefully the guys will realize something is up and come help!

The enemies are closing around me, biting and tearing at my flesh. I will not go down so easy, and they do not know that I am a much better fighter when surrounded. I manage to bloody 4 of the blights around me, killing a couple too. While getting ready to unleash my next assault on my assailants the vision leaves my eyes. I am in complete darkness! Did I go blind? No, thankfully it’s spell cast by one of these denizens. I still “know” where they are so can try to unleash hell once more.

Now, the party didn’t know that I had snuck off to examine the corpses but they did know something was going on when they noticed that I was MIA and the loud snarl echoed up the crevasse. The other guys quickly gather their gear and rush down to come to my aid.

As I’m standing in the darkness my auditory senses are tingling. I hear the gasping of the blights, the gnashing of their teeth, and what’s that? A bell is clanging…WHOA! I’m being pulled out of the darkness and right into the grasp of another lizardman. This CANNOT be good I think, as I soon realize that without my allies I’m screwed. I manage to fight off the attackers for a little while longer before succumbing to their onslaught. As I lie on the ground, death all but certain, I see over the cusp come my brothers-in-arms! A sight never so welcome before! Before the attackers can finish me off for good, the band is upon them drawing their attacks. Lorthandriel manages to restore my health enough to allow me to once again resume fighting. Even near death I will not back down from battle! The guys do notice that our opponents for the most part seem to be quite badly injured and take note of the two crumpled masses on the floor as well. They all shout in amazement at my prowess, but I scorn them and let them know that the battle is still far from over. Ultimately, we prevail in this battle and realize that the large lizardman that had first attacked me was Charlie. This was Francis’s family, so now it was up to us to find the gold stash and complete our agreement with our golden gecko friend. Just as we are examining the last of the corpses, who should appear but our good friend Thorus. He asks if he missed anything exciting while we were apart. Of course, we told him no, afraid his frail state of mind would snap completely if we let on about the excitement we had just endured. Instead we tell him that Charlie and his family must’ve been killed by a war party of Mamuks, so now we just had to find the gold. We search the caves and discover a few rooms, and lastly, behind a fake wall we discover the gold stash. Over 1,000 coins by our estimation. A hefty sum coming our way if Francis holds true to his end of the bargain!

Here is where our journey ends for the time being. Don’t worry though, I’m sure it will contain more stories of Fenrir’s greatnes…err, our parties greatness shortly! Rahadun awaits us and I can only imagine the tales that will come from that….

- Fenrir

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Surviving the Desert, Part 1
Points gained: 3

_Through the eyes of Kiedro: _

Six days we travel on the back of the beast, living off the blood and flesh of the behemoth. Quicker now the festering wound seams to be effecting it. Nothing but sand to see and I wonder if this monster will take us to our graves along with it. We unfortunately are not the only ones that taken notice of weakening state of our transportation. Something else wishes to taste the rotting flesh of the behemoth. Sand worm have taken up the sent of this dieing animal and lay in wait for an opportune moment to strike.

They didn’t wait for the behemoth to fall before they struck, and we are robed of at least half a days travel. I should be thankful though, as they were busy subduing the beast they paid no mind of us. We made it off with no injuries. Now what food and water we are to have will be what we can find in this almost lifeless place.

The heat of the day is horrid, I can only imagine how it might feel without this peace of cold steal at my back. Can’t understand how I forgot to do it the second day, like god taking a piss over this land my mind must have been somewhere else. Thinking of other ways to keep out of the sun in the day and warmer during the night, I re-leave Al-ahuk of his turban. He laughs as I taunt him about his son dieing before him, and mutters something about a curse and how it would transfer to me if I let him die out here. I kind of want to kill him just to see……..haha Lacard killed his son. I think he needs a new curse anyway. Just as Lacard and myself are going over the pros and cons of killing him the band pipes in with his logic and we have to abandon that idea.

We use our skills together to bring what rations we can find. Well I don’t but it gives some of the crew something to do. We start walking during dusk and into the night to try and keep the sun off our backs, finding shelter during the day. I can’t help but feel that my rage is starting to get the better of me. Not just now and not just in this place. I fear what I saw in that portal is true and I am slowly becoming a monster. But fear is a bad word for it. Deep down becoming this monster is what is driving me to survive. Embracing the monster within…………I better get to kill something soon.

Buzzard have given us away to some local pirates called the Mumuke. Al-ahuk seems to think they are a terrible force to be recon with. Oh goodie. They ride 6 legged camels, coming to inspect is a rider about 3 times during today. Our shifter friend made the a fortunate mistake of appearing weak. Opps. They just might attack too soon. We walk through the night and come face to face with them in the morning. Mmmmm breakfast is served. We did try to spare the camels but they didn’t make it. After a bite to eat and a little rest we will sort through what is left of them, and find if they have left use anything of use.

…………………..Its a pity I made them all piss the pants, make the meat taste bad.

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I've been through the desert on a mammoth with no name; It felt good to be out of the rain
Points gained: 3

Sand…. lots & lots of sand, grey & dreary, it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen this place, & I hoped I’d never see it again. But Rahdune never had grey sand, it seems we’re in a place we’ve been before, the alternate version of Gaea, this does not bode well for us, we need to leave. If we continue on this path we’ll end up in the capitol, not a place I wish to return too. Gladiator sport is a common occurrence & our lifespan will decrease exponentially. We need to get off these beasts before we get there, but not too close so we’re captured by the city guards.

Five days have past, as far as I can tell, probably many more, but for now it’s all I can tell. Thankfully they’ve put us all in the same cage. Spencer is still unconscious, but the rest of us have finally come around enough to start figuring this out. Our surroundings are fairly bleak, the six of us sit in a 10×10 cell across this beast’s back. We’re bound hand & foot behind our backs. Another cage sits not 5 feet from us, within are 3 humans & a dwarf. One of the humans & dwarf lay unconscious on the floor. The guards feed & water us once a day, barely enough to keep us alive, but for now it will do.

Thorus struck up a conversation with one of the humans in the cage next to us, Dennis by name, he let us know they’ve been here at least a week before we got here. He remains preoccupied with the unconscious human, his brother Richard. As they spoke we found that supposedly the prisoners in our cage died before we were captured. Another of the prisoners, Fenrear, let slip that we were found laying in the dunes.

One of the guards, Al’halal, broke up their conversation by slamming his spear against the cage. He seemed fairly jovial & intimated that we’re to be sold into slavery for fighting pits. From the corner of my eye I saw that Gruudash was beginning to work his bonds loose. (success 1)

Kiedro & Lecarde began a survey of our cage, made mostly of some bone, or tusks of some sort, it is formed into what would be a giant bear trap if it was to be lifted from where it dug into the back of this rock camel. In a few places it had actually dug in & scratched the skin of this beast where the plates of skin came together.

Thorus broke into a conversation with Al’halal as he made his way back to his post after getting yelled at by his ‘superior’. Consoling him he began to intimate that he too is forced to do the grunt work of the group. He seemed to take some consolation in the fact that they have something in common. (success 2)

As usual the birds flew in at the height of the day with water & grain for our daily feeding. Always they came from the northwest, which seems rather strange as we continue to travel to the southeast. Kiedro came up with an idea to mix some food with our waste & put it in one of the scratches caused by the bone cage on the back of this creature, in an attempt to cause it to fester so as to sicken or slow the beast. (success 3)

As the night set in it became as cold & bitter as it was hot & dry during the day. I noticed a fair amount of moisture developed on the bones at night & again before dawn, letting my companions know this we developed a plan to gather some of this to increase our limited rations. During the dark of the evening we began to slowly work on our bonds. I took the opportunity to search for magic in our surroundings, as weak as I am I only found a small source at the front of the beast where the captain slept. Believing this was the signature of our missing gear, it emboldened us to begin to work on ways to free ourselves from our bonds.

While Lecarde & Kiedro were on the lookout timing the guard I shifted myself into Halfling form which to our delight let my bonds slip off with ease. The others chose to work their bonds free the old fashion way, which for the most part worked, but Kiedro did draw the notice of the other guard, Al-hulige, who came over & admonished him to knock it off & go to sleep.

The next morning we put the plan to gather water to the test, Al’halal came over & watched us, commenting that in all his years we’re the first captives to try do this. As we finished this up the captain came out of his hut up front & yelled at the guards. They went over to the other cage & hitting the bones in some precise locations opened two of the bones & hooked the dwarf with their spears dragging him from the other cage. Thorus watched their actions with keen interest, as they finished up he gave us a look & nod that he had figured out how to work the locks. As he informed us of this the guards threw the body of the dwarf off the side of our beast of burden.

Believing this to be the fate of his brother Dennis began to sob & moan over the body of his unconscious brother. Thorus attempted to console Dennis, but was unable to assuage his fear. As he attempted this Gruudash spoke to Fenrear of the dwarf, he confirmed he did die during the night even though he tried to keep him alive.

During our noon feeding Thorus spoke to Al’halal letting him know that he is a healer & concerned about the health of the human in the other cage. Convincing him that it was in his best interest to keep the other human alive through this trip Al’halal moved Thorus to the other cage to begin looking at Roger to see what ails him. Just after Thorus was put in the cage the captain of this beast came over & raged at Al’halal for moving Thorus without his permission. As their argument continued Thorus finished his assessment & informed the captain of not only his ailments, but also what would be needed to allow him to survive the trip. In his continued anger the captain ordered the two guards to throw Roger over the side. Pleading his case Thorus failed to convince him to allow him to heal Roger (failure 1). After Roger was thrown over the side Thorus broke into an uncommon rage at the captain who chuckled in his face and signaled Al’halal who struck him in the side of the head knocking him to the ground.

Throughout the day Thorus swore & spit on the commander preventing him from getting the rest he sought in the heat of the day. Having had enough of this abuse he came over to the cage & drew his serrated scimitar threatening to throw him over the side saying he doesn’t make enough money from any one of us that he won’t throw us over the edge to die in the desert. Fenrear seemed to try to distance himself from this entire affair. As Thorus continued to be a distraction Lecarde & Gruudash were able to successfully loosen their bonds enough that they are able to escape at will (success 4).

In the cool of the evening Fenrear spoke to us of the 3 plans he sees as a way we could escape. 1. Wait till we get close to the city & escape during the night so we can make our way to the city or an encampment that we can get in. 2. We wait for the birds & take a bird to fly out. 3. We take this beast at night & pull it out of the caravan giving us the entire night & half the day to get away before birds could be sent after us.

Working through our plans with Fenrear we eliminated the first two as functional options. It was decided that we’ll take the stone camel at night. Trying to do it with stealth we decided to take down the single guard patrolling at night silently, open the cages, & make our way to the front of this animal to get our gear & dispatch the rest of the guards. After that we’ll pull the beast from the caravan & make our way through the desert. Hashing this out fully took the better part of a week as we sought to remain unnoticed by the guards.

A few days before we were to make our break Thorus was working at his bonds & Al-hulige saw him slip his hand free. Listening to his weak explanation as to how he got free he laughed aloud & getting more rope saw to it he was not only double knotted, but also tied to the bones themselves. (failure 2) Al’halal went through the rest of our bonds & found only Kiedro’s were loose, which he double bound as well, thankfully not to the bones themselves. Taking this in stride we adjusted our plan to release Kiedro so he could grab Al-hulige when he passed between the cages, snapping his neck & retrieving his spear for Gruudash. Allowing a few days to pass we were finally ready to attempt our escape.

Lecarde shifted to wolf form & began to chew the bonds holding Kiedro, the first attempt was a failure, but he remained unnoticed, allowing a second attempt that was a success. Kiedro successfully broke his bonds, stepping on the wound he created on the beast he caused it to rear up waking all others on it. Kiedro’s initial grab attempt failed due to the camel’s movement. Al-hulige turned to confront Kiedro, but Fenrear kicked his knees out letting Kiedro get a punch off that went straight to the throat, dropping him to the ground. After passing the spear to Gruudash, Kiedro stepped on the wound again which shook the beast to it’s core causing two of the guards to fall to their deaths.

Using this distraction Fenrear & I easily opened our cages drawing no notice from the guards. Gruudash took the spear & charged the remaining driver while Lecarde went to rush Al’halal trying to push him from the beast. Seeing this Kiedro followed Gruudash to take the captain out. I moved up to the bags containing our gear to begin sorting & passing out weapons.

Thorus was successful in working himself free while Gruudash did successfully knock the last driver off to the ground. Kiedro followed suit & did knock the captain off, but he was able to hang onto the rope dangling off the side. Both Lecarde & Fenrear charged the two remaining guards at the back knocking them off, but Fenrear did take a nasty wound to the leg in the process. I worked on opening the bags & did find several bags containing most of our gear.

Kiedro attempted to intimidate the captain to drop off, which failed, but Gruudash threw the spear knocking him in the shoulder which was just enough to cause him to fall to his death. Gruudash, Kiedro, & I used this opportunity to put on our gear & prepare for the night to come. Lecarde attempted to warn those on the beast behind us that all was ok, seeing this failed he released the bolt on the ballista behind us, missing the beast, but striking & killing one of the guards on the one behind us. Fenrear reloaded the ballista preparing for the next attack.

I took the next opportunity to take Fenrear his gear & help him prepare while he manned the ballista. Kiedro worked to pull the reins up & get the beast righted to steer it away from caravan. Gruudash acting quickly followed suit to get the other rein so they could attempt to drive this beast away from those following us. Lecarde took another shot at the beast behind us & then moved up to gather his gear. Thorus went to Dennis, who was cowering in fear, & attempted to rouse him from the ground to stand with us. His words inspired him to action & he quickly grabbed the hammer Thorus offered him moving out of the cage looking for something to fight. As Fenrear reloaded the ballista two bolts struck our beast in the front & back with ropes attached which riders from the other beasts began to slide across to confront us.

Before any of us could react 6 riders slid over & tumbled through our midst spreading out to confront us. I struck out & solidly hit the raider in front of me reducing his armor. Kiedro attempted to cause the beast to shake his head to throw a raider off, but to say the least failed. Gruudash tied down his rein, turned & charged to the back, taking an attack, but moving past to charge the commander, but he was unable to throw him back & off the beast. Lecarde finished putting on his gear moved in to take the reins from Kiedro to free him up for battle. Lecarde dropped a cloud of pure darkness around himself & Kiedro. Thorus pulled out the Punishing Eye & placed it on the back of the beast near the commander that came across, he then moved further into the cage he came from. Fenrear turned the ballista & fired point blank going straight through him & knocking him back nearly throwing him off the edge. Dennis moved to Gruudash & watched his back. Lecarde took a hit from a raider randomly thrusting his spear into the darkness. Thorus was engaged by a raider moving into the cage with him, being missed by the attack. The raider nearly thrown off stood up & began a whirling dervish dance moving through Fenrear, Gruudash, & myself striking only Gruudash. The commander struck a mighty blow against Gruudash, which seemed to revive the raiders around him. Dennis was quickly dispatched by another rider, while the last missed me.

I again struck the raider before keeping his armor reduced. I began my song to encourage & strengthen my companion’s attacks. Gruudash let out a great battle shout & drew in all of the raiders around him striking them all with a massive blow bloodying two of them in the process. Lecarde turned the beast further away from the caravan. As the darkness around Kiedro dropped he led with a massive swing leaving him hanging from the beasts head. Charging in Kiedro slammed him with another swing bloodying him, but not knocking him off. Thorus, cornered in the cage, struck-out at the raider in front of him, striking her & imbuing Gruudash with fire. The raider cornered by Kiedro began his dervish dance & whirled to strike both Kiedro & Lecarde, but the bars of the cage protected Thorus. However this didn’t prevent him from being hit & restrained it some form of magical cage by the raider before him. One of the raiders before Gruudash did hit him but failed in his attempt to restrain him.

I took advantage of Gruudash’s last attack on the raider I had previously hit to move to an advantageous position & finish him off with a blow from the back. Gruudash kept the attention of the raiders before him, but was unable to finish another off. Lecarde turned the beast further breaking the last line attaching us to the caravan & then dropped one of his attacks again damaging all the raiders before Gruudash. Kiedro charged in on the raider he’s been attacking, striking with a massive upper-cut swing throwing his bloody corpse up against the cage behind him. Thorus, restrained by the magical cage was able to shoot at another bloodied raider, not killing him, but greatly weakening him further. Fenrear, who had successfully reloaded the ballista, took aim at a weakened raider & struck him throwing his corpse from the back of the beast.

Kiedro, being critically struck by the raider formerly on Thorus, let out a laugh of pure madness reducing the strike to a manageable level. The captain of this raiding party went into an almost mist form, which allowed him to move from the position he was in, but for some reason went between myself & Fenrear. The last raider before Gruudash attempted to move from Lecarde’s zone of power, but failed & fell prone. Gruudash took advantage of this to finish him off as he lay before him, as he shook the blood from his blade he moved in to surround the captain. Backing the final raider against a cage Kiedro struck her a solid blow bloodying her in the process & gaining her full attention. Thorus struck the same bloodied raider further weakening her. She struck out against Kiedro, and much like Thorus was able to restrain him in a magical cage of force. The commander, being nearly surrounded struck me with a massive overhand blow, luckily I was able to use my armor to reduce it by almost half. I lashed out at the captain, reducing his armor & solidly striking him. Gruudash moved to encircle the captain, however he wasn’t able to get fully behind him, but again struck him a solid blow. Kiedro lashed out at the raider before him, again striking using that anger to shrug his way out of the cage surrounding him. Thorus finished off the last raider, but still was unable to get free of the magic surrounding him.

Seeing he was the last standing, the captain surrendered to us trying to make himself valuable in the fact he can lead us from the desert. We tied him to the cage as Thorus was tied, also just to show our intent we also tied a rope to the ballista bolt & the other end around his neck. Thorus attempted to attend to the wound on the beast to extend it’s life.

As we continued through the night we searched the bags upon this creature we found all the rest of our gear & a bonus of some note. Slippers of the Assassin & an Aversion Staff +3. 1500xp for the successful escape & 2150xp for the fight at the end.

View
Pushed to the Limit, Agony in Victory!

Points Gained: 3

Standing before the massive intricately carved double doors we decide to move back and check another direction. We proceed to the smaller single door to the left, Kiedro decided to go to the single door and creak it open, sticking his head into th room. About what I would expect from a rock, as he fubly tries to play dead as a joke. ignorin his nonsense we move on for more exploration. The chamber is empty, except for two doors, one to the North and one to the East. Kiedro peeks his head in, and states the room appears to be cleaned, it is completely bare.

We then head through one of the doors, and find a room littered with debris and some strange vines, which has pulsating pods, scattered throughout the room. Thorus inspects the vines further, searching the room, looking under a slab grabbing one of the pods, about the size of a small watermelon. He examines this further, and asks Kiedro to help him open the pod. Kiedro then placed it on the ground and gave it a tap with his gigantic Executioner’s Axe, causing it to erupt all over him, turning into a big gooey mess. I think to myself that Thorus seems very bright, but not to much sense at times. While I understand hes a good test dummy, Kiedro doesnt have much finesse for things like this. We move on after some nonsensical science, as there is another door leading out of the room.

After Thorus listens at the door, Kiedro backs up and charges at the door, instead of opening it, smashing through the door, sprawling on the floor, covering himself in dust and shattered door pieces. I will say one goo thing for that big Rock, he sure does make a good battering ram.

After the dust clears we see more vines and pods beyond, the only apparent exit being a collapsed passage to the east. Seeing the full plant, Spencer and I vaguely remember seeing the plant in the wagon of the witch doctor of the Split-Tooth clan, though we don’t recall any more about the plant. Lecarde deduces she was harvesting the magical energies from the pods. Thorus figures out how they may be able to extract the power from the pods, of which there are five harvestable pods, receiving enchanting materials from just the one pod. They were unable to get any more materials out of the other pods, causing each of the others to erupt into foam. 500gp residium

We track back to he big double door, Spenser tells Thorus to checkout the double doors. A pair of heavy doors thorus asks for some help. Kiedro opens the door, letting in a bright hot light flow into this room, opening it the rest of the way, revealing a long room, over 100 feet long, opening to about 50 feet wide, with a 10 foot wide catwalk leading down the middle, with 5 foot wide ledges along the edge of the room, and what we think may be lava down below the catwalk, due to the bright light and head emanating from below. It is extremely loud in here, so we haven’t yet alerted the dragonlings that are on the other side of the room. There is also a large being, which appears to be made out of stone and lava, with his back to us, hovering above the pit of lava, with his lower body appearing to be a pillar of lava. The room appears to be made out of a dark grey metal, with the dragons being very similar in color to the rest of the room.

Spencer moves onto the catwalk, and stands ready, with Lecarde moving into the edge and vanishes. Lava Man then flies up and moves out over the lava, firing two black beams at Spencer, hitting him with them, who retaliates, hitting him soundly. I chuck a dagger at Lava Man, with it passing right through him, Lorthandriel misses him, and Thorus moves up as well.

Spencer then throws his weapons at Lava Man, hitting with his first attack, with the hammer also passing through him. Lecarde blasts Lava Man and one of the dragons. Lava Man goads Kiedro, saying how they will use him to fuel their fires, blasting him with a beam, sending him over the edge, to the grate just over the lava, with little lavalings climbing up through the grate to attack him. He then fires his second beam at Spencer, who dodges aside.

Kiedro charges one of the lavalings missing him. I charge at the dragons, with a section of the catwalk falling away, dropping me to the grate below with Kiedro. Thorus moves to Lorthandriel and Spencer, casting his magical weapon, hitting Lava Man, with Lorthandriel then pulling Lava Man closer, with his trash talk. Spencer then hurls both hammers, each connecting. Lava Man moves into the group of Lorthandriel , Thorus and Spencer, blasting them all with lava which he drew up from below, they were all able to somewhat shield themselves from the attack, but he does blast Spencer with a beam, but he manages to avoid falling over the edge.

The dragons fly over the gap in the catwalk, biting Lorthandriel , both hitting him. Kiedro attacks the one in front of him, bursting it into a ball of lava. I then charge the other one next to the wall, bursting it as well, covering myself in lava, as a third comes up through the grate hitting me.

Thorus hits Lava man, while Lorthandriel follows up on the dragon Lecarde previously hit. Spencer then misses Lava Man with both of his hammers. Lecarde attacks the dragons, missing each, protecting Lorthandriel with a thin layer of bark covering him.

Lava Man covers his hand with magma and slams his fist into Lorthandriel , and blasts Spencer with another beam, who is once again able to catch himself before falling over the edge. The dragons miss Lorthandriel this time.

Kiedro makes it onto the catwalk, and slams the drake next to him, attempting to send him over the edge, but doesn’t make him over the edge. Another lavaling crawls up and flied up to spencer. I climb out of pit. Thorus moves up and kills the lavaling on Spencer, covering Spencer in Lava again. Lorthandriel cleaves into the dragon laying on the catwalk next to him, and heals himself. Spencer stands once again, this time hitting with both of his hurled hammers, laying into Lava Man, causing him, he now appears to be glowing less brightly with lava. Lecarde attacks the dragon and Lava Man, who are adjacent to one another.

Lava Man then calls up a spout of lava, directing it onto Kiedro, covering him in lava and knocking him on his ass. Who is then attacked by the dragon he was attacking. The other dragon then breaths Lorthandriel and Kiedro, but Kiedro was too low to be attacked, sending Lorthandriel over the edge to the grate below. Kiedro then stands up and attacks the dragon in front of him twice, hitting with the first attack, and is able to shake the lava off of him. I kill the lavaling on me, covering myself in it’s remains again, and move next to Lecarde.

Thorus heals Kiedro, and almost fells the dragon he was attacking. Lorthandriel heals himself and starts to climb out of the pit. Spencer hurls his hammers at Lava Man, hitting cleanly with both. Lecarde is once again able to attack both the dragon and Lava Man, who then moves to be above Lorthandriel , and bursts lava against Lorthandriel , Kiedro and Spencer, hitting all but Lorthandriel . Kiedro and Spencer believe they are covered in fire. The dragon moves up near me and Lecarde, breathing on us, hitting us both, pushing us away and knocks us prone.

Kiedro attacks the dragon that was knocked prone next to him, after it left the zone Lecarde created from his last attack, and Thorus casts Vampiric Weapons on the dragon that attacked myself and Lecarde. Lorthandriel makes it out of the pit, and nearly kill the dragon that breathed on me and Lecarde. Lecarde attacks Lava Man and the dragon again, hitting each, killing the dragon. Lava Man shoots his flame and Kiedro and Spencer, hitting each of them, sending Spencer over the edge, and knocking Kiedro prone. Kiedro charges, leaping off of the catwalk at Lava Man, cleaving into him with his frosty axe, shattering him into thousands of pieces, landing on his feet below.

We decide to head back to the clean room, to rest. I find myself dream walking. We are in a vast quadruple valved chamber, like a heart that appears to be beating, and is made of nephilium. There is a sphere of pure light hanging in the air, surrounded by 3 columns of crystal, with a pedestal of crystal holding a tome, a short distance from the sphere. Standing behind the podium with the tome, is a man in a black cloak, similar to the one we had previously seen hanging in what we believe to be Madreus’ room, and the sphere is showing a portal to another world. He appears to be controlling our body, though we currently have our minds to ourselves. Suddenly the gate changes from a dark landscape, to a bright green wilderness, with Shayde charging and leaping through the gate, larger than we have ever seen him, who gives us back all of our powers, giving us back control of our bodies.

We then see six demonic creatures, spread in an arch in front of us, between us and Madreus, two of which are large, and have stumps, with eyes encircling them, for heads. The other four are smaller and have small wings,

Madreus mentions something about now needing to destroy us, and how that is a shame.

One of the massive demons also goes before u, moving up more closely, behind one of the smaller demons.

I attack two of the smaller demons, killing them, with their energy being visibly sucked within the void, and then move up and kills off the other two smaller demons with a burst attack, sending their energy to the void. Seeing these demons killed we get a vision, inspiring us to fight for something more, for me I see myself shattering the bonds being used to enslave others.

One of the large demons reaches out and grabs Lecarde, pulling him adjacent to him, grabbing him.

Lorthandriel starts singing, bolstering our spirits even further, and mentally attacks the demon¸ though he fails to move him from his spot. Kiedro is next up, charging the demon who has a grip on Lecard, laying into him with his axe. I charge him, missing with my shield. Spencer misses with both of his thrown hammers, not a very good start for either of us.

Thorus calls out his Punishing Eye, and misses with his crossbow. Madreus fires two bolts of black lightning at the orb, one summoning 2 more little demons, and the other teleporting him closer. He then unleashes a psychic attack on Lorthandriel , Kiedro, Spencer and Thorus, sending everyone but Thorus reeling back in shock and pain. One of the little ones then flies up, next to Lecarde, and unleashes a psychic attack on Thorus and myself, drawing us in, blowing itself up, damaging both of us. The other large demon then moves up closer, grabbing Thorus, pulling him adjacent to himself.

I vanish again the demon then squeezes me, maintaining his hold. I then lay into him, and move around him to his flank. Spencer then hits him with his attacks.

Thorus sends a blast from Spencer’s armor, stepping out of the armor, next to Spencer. Madreus dominates myself and Kiedro, taking control of our minds and actions.

Lecarde shrouds himself and his immediate area in darkness, hitting the guardian demon, but fails to escape the grasp of the demon who has him in his grasp. Lorthandriel slashes the one that moved up into his face. Kiedro then charges Thorus, gashing him severely damaging him. I then charge Lorthandriel , critically striking him, but I am unable to break free of my domination.

Madreus once again moves up, and attacks Thorus, and Spencer sending them reeling again, along with the large demon that was attacking these guys. The demon then attacks Lorthandriel , grabbing him, and nearly killing him. Lecarde blasts both of the large demons with thorns, pelting both of them. The demon holding Lecarde drags him with, as he moves to attack Thorus.

Lorthandriel changes from his elven form, to that of a glowing amorphous being, seeing himself sitting at a desk, writing the last page of a book, and closing the book. He then fails to free himself, but does manage to heal himself, from his near death state.

Kiedro then charges the demon holding Lecarde, laying into him with his axe, scoring a nasty strike across his chest. I then am forced to attack Thorus, hitting him, and finally freeing myself from his control.

Thorus appears to age before our eyes, and time appears to warp around him, and we get a vision of him breaking into some alchemist’s shop, and concocting an elixir to save his dying father.

Madreus points to the orb, commanding a little demon to ensure the gate stays open, it then moves over to the pedestal and starts to bang on it, like someone banging on a piano. Thorus tells us to look at the columns of nephilium, and we see them glowing, on green, red and blue. Madreus then attempts to dominate Kiedro, but is unable to control him, finally controlling his mind, using four attacks to do so.

The demon grabbing Lorthandriel , squeezes him, and swings at Thorus, critting him, but then he turns back time, this time missing Thorus. Lecarde kills the demon grabbing him. Lorthandriel , attacks the demon grabbing him, but is still unable to escape his grasp. Kiedro charges Spencer, almost killing him. I attack the demon holding, scoring a strong hit on him. Spencer then appears to enrage, growing larger, and we see a vision of our captivity, Spencer being held back, surrounded by cages as other slaves are driven out of the group. He breaks free and tries to run to his brother, but does not reach his brother before an arrow pierces his skull, killing him.

Thorus moves away from Kiedro, as Madreus blasts us with another psychic blast, hitting Spencer, myself, and Kiedro, sending us sprawling and dazing us again, bloodying me. The demon then squeezes Lorthandriel , as I duck under his swing, and he moves up into the group. Lecarde moves up to Madreus, leaping on him, grabbing and dazing him, our first real attack on him, delivering a nasty wound to him.

Lorthandriel then successfully hits the demon holding onto him, and heals Spencer. Kiedro then wildly misses Spencer, but cannot escape Madreus’ control.

Gruudash enters limit, his body growing and shrinking with the beating of his heart. We can visibly see the adrenaline rushing through his system. A scene of slavery, something we have come to understand about the half orcs

Spencer obliterates the guardian demon, with a masterfully placed shot, sending its essence back through the portal.

Thorus moves his Punishing Eye, and scores a grave strike on Madreus, with his Magic Weapon attack, healing Kiedro in the process. Lecarde bites at Madreus as he attempts to attack us with his mental attack, hitting only Thorus, sending him screeming, he then teleports across the room, getting away from Lecarde and his zone. Lecarde then moves, and charges at Madreus, leaping at him again, this time he is knocked to the side, as Madreus was prepared for the attack.

Lorthandriel moves away from Kiedro, who then swings at Thorus, but is unable to land a hit. Spencer and I move up towards Madreus, who then teleports using his bolt of lightning near the pedestal, and then dominates Lecarde. Lecarde then charges Spencer, leaping on him, sending him sprawling across the floor. Lorthandriel moves up, as Kiedro charges at Spencer, and in true Kiedro form, misses. Spencer then moves up and demolishes the demonling working the controls on the pedestal, who pulls what appears to be a blue rod from the control panel, which flies through the air, falling to the ground.

Thorus moves around Kiedro, and is able to shake of the dazing effects of Madreus’ previous attack on him. Madreus then moves up and blasts us all with his mental attack, hitting me, Lecarde, and Spencer, Thorus backs up time, forcing him to remake the attack, this time he misses Lecarde. Lecarde then moves up and leaps on Madreus again, knocking him to the ground once again.

Lorthandriel moves up, to enable himself to pick up the rod next turn. Kiedro then charges Spencer, hitting this time, bloodying him again. Spencer and I both move up, but are unable to get shake the haze from our minds.

Thorus then also runs up to the pedestal. Madreus emanates a blast, attacking Thorus, Lecarde and Lorthandriel , critting Lorthandriel , and hitting everyone else, which Thorus rolls back, making him remake the attacks, he still hits everyone, knocking everyone back, and preventing them from moving. The attack also bloodies Thorus. Madreus teleports to the pedestal, frantically trying to keep the portal open, as he works the controls. Lecarde calls forth lightning to strike at Madreus, but is still held in place by whatever magic he was using.

Kiedro then charges Thorus, but finally is able to shake Madreus’ compulsion. Spencer lands a glancing blow on Madreus, causing minor damage. Thorus has Fingers investigate the pedestal, to determine how it works, and he then misses Madreus with his attack. Madreus then fires a black bolt at me and Kiedro, dominating both of us.

Lecarde then rends Madreus, who deftly avoids his attack, while Lecarde is still unable to move from his spot. Lorthandriel slashes him across the back, though it appears to be a superficial wound. Kiedro then charges Lecarde, missing him, and breaking free of Madreus’ control. I am then forced to move up and attack Lecarde, but miss, and I am also able to retake control of my actions. Spencer moves up and charges Madreus, landing a respectable blow. Thorus picks up the blue rod, and proceeds to bury a quarrel deeply into his shoulder.

Madreus then shifts back, and blasts the entire group, hitting everyone but Lorthandriel ., Thorus makes him do the action over, this time he also misses Thorus. Lecarde hits Madreus, followed by Lorthandriel , who finally bloodies him.

Kiedro’s eyes turn black, and we feel he will not be able to tell friend from foe. The blood vessels in his extremities swell, and his teeth grow, as he appears more feral, and his face resembles that of a bear. He roars “I will avenge my family, I will kill my father’s murderer, I will not die with this name!” we see a vision of a rainy day of battle, showing him crushing the spine of the man who is responsible for the death of his father, and fall of his family.

Spencer hits him soundly with his hammer, missing with his other attack, but is still unable to move. I also catch him with my dagger, but and stuck in place.

Thorus then places the blue rod into the control panel, which then causes the pillar to glow a bright blue. Madreus moves up and teleports to the other side of the room. Lecarde goes running after him, missing with his lunging attack. Lorthandriel also moves up to get into range of his attacks. Kiedro rushes up, and then charges Madreus, and misses on the attack.

Thorus places all of the rods into the panel. Madreus then blasts Kiedro and Lecarde, hitting both of them. Madreus starts to move towards the panel, rage burning in his eyes now that the panel is activated and Thorus is trying to control it. Kiedro breaths fire on Madreus, who is unaffected, though Spencer’s hammer lands squarely. Thorus figures out how the device works, and tries to take control of it.

As I feel the energies rippling through the orb, I feel myself getting closer to unleashing a savagrey I cant control. Being a druid i can always see the spirits of nature, and spirits that exist within living things. I can see everyone has reached there limit and shown their strength, my test has not yet come. However lately in the corner of my eye, its as if I can see another spirit, or more like a shadow, one that is trying to consume me.

Madreus once again takes control of Kiedro, his favorite little pet. Lecarde then shifts up to Madreus, biting him in the flanks, throwing him to the ground. Lorthandriel moves up to Madreus, flanking him with Lecarde, landing a solid hit. Kiedro is then directed to charge Lecarde, and regains control of his senses. Spencer and I are both able to hit him, and can move again. Madreus then dominates Thorus, but fails against Kiedro. I run up and finish off Madreus, his body falls to the floor, and bubbles away, as the being who was controlling his body announces this is not his only gate, and we will be his when we are sent to the Abbys. The gate then collapses into a blackhole, and we feel ourselves being pulled in, and pass out. We awake in the back of a huge caravan, stripped of all gear, in a crate, surrounded by a wasteland of nothing but sand as far as we can see. The cage sits atop a huge beast, and there are more than a dozen of these beasts, all with similar cages full of prisoners.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Gruudash’s Point of View.

are faced with a choice, a pair of huge fancy doors ahead of us, or a more typical door to our left. After the ass kicking we’d just received I think Kiedro made a good choice by going to the smaller door, without asking anyone else what they thought. Just because he has rocks for brains doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some common sense. Though somehow he still managed for fall on his face when peaking into the room, that takes some skill.
I swear to god it’s like I’m being force-fed that damn elixir the shaman used to force all of us slaves to drink. What we see in the room sure as shit seems like it is out of one of those foggy days. Funky ass vines and throbbing pods cover the room, along with bits of rubble from where they broke through the stone all around. Of course Thorus heads over to one of the pods, and picks the damn thing up and starts checking it out. They’re about the size of a small watermelon. For some sort of learned person, I swear he can give Kiedro a run for his money in the blockhead department. He for some reason decides to have Kiedro try to open the pod with that gi-fucking-normous axe of his, this should be funny. So Kiedro places it on the ground and, if you can even do so with that huge fucker, taps it a couple times with his axe, which of course causes it to burst open and spew some gooey shit all over him and the floor.
Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dumb are soon at it again, as we decide to leave this room through one of the other doors. Thorus goes to check it out, to make sure it isn’t trapped or anything like that, then Kiedro moves to open it, and about halfway into the motion backs up a few paces, lowers his head and charges the door like a pissed off bull. Be blows through the door, and goes tumbling across the floor, covering himself in dust and shattered door pieces.
After the dust finally clears we see more of those vines and pods, with the only exit we can see, being a collapsed tunnel to the east. We also see the full plant in this room, which looks very similar to the one the shaman kept with him. Lecarde figures he must have been collecting magical energy from the pod. After hearing this Thorus studies them more closely, and believes he has figured out how to gather this power. He found five pods that he thinks can be harvested, so attempts to do so with Lecarde’s help. They were only able to extract this shiny powdery substance from one of the pods, the rest erupting on them.
We head back and check out the only other door, trying to put off our meeting with Madreus until we can find a good place to rest, and heal our wounds from the previous encounters.
When Kiedro opens this door, thankfully using the knob this time, bright light and a wave of heat enter the room. He then opens the door completely and we see a huge room, over 100 feet long and about 50 feet wide, with a large metal catwalk spanning a large gap. There are two smaller walkways along each of the walls, also going across the opening, where the heat and light seem to be coming from. In the bottom of the chasm we see what we think may be lava, and it seems to be roaring, which is good since it prevented us from alerting the creatures we see on the other side. It appears to be two dragonlings and some sort of Lava Man, because his lower body is made up of just lava, no legs, just like a skirt of lava dripping from him to the floor he hovers above, and the dragonlings are the same grayish color that the metal walkways are.
Spenser heads out onto the walkway, and readies himself, not wanting to get too far ahead of the rest of us, Lecarde then heads off to the side, and vanishes, hopefully this time he doesn’t get himself in too much trouble. This finally caught the attention of the dragonlings and Lava Man, as he then flied up and moves out over the pit, firing two black beams at Spenser, hitting him with both, who hurls a hammer back at the strange glowing creature, the hammer going through him, coming out his back. I notice the same thing happen to my dagger, as I move up, onto the catwalk to run over to the dragonlings.
Lecarde blasts Lava Man and one of the dragons. Lava Man goads Kiedro, saying how they will use him to fuel their fires, blasting him with a beam, sending him over the edge, to the grate just over the lava, with little lavalings climbing up through the grate to attack him. He then fires his second beam at Spenser, who dodges aside.
Kiedro charges one of the lavalings missing him. I charge at the dragons, and the damn catwalk falls, dropping me to the grate below with Kiedro. Thorus moves to Lorthandriel and Spenser, casting his magical weapon, hitting Lava Man, with Lorthandriel then pulling Lava Man closer, with his trash talk. Spenser then hurls both hammers, each connecting. Lava Man moves into the group of Lorthandriel , Thorus and Spenser, blasting them all with lava which he drew up from below, they were all able to somewhat shield themselves from the attack, but he does blast Spenser with a beam, but he is able to catch himself to avoid falling over the edge.
The dragons fly over the gap in the catwalk, biting Lorthandriel , both hitting him. Kiedro attacks the lavaling in front of him, bursting it into a ball of lava. I then charge the other one next to the wall, bursting it as well, covering myself in lava, as a third comes up through the grate hitting me.
Thorus hits Lava man, while Lorthandriel follows up on the dragon Lecarde previously hit. Spenser then misses Lava Man with both of his hammers. Lecarde attacks the dragons, missing each, protecting Lorthandriel with a thin layer of bark covering him.
Lava Man covers his hand with magma and slams his fist into Lorthandriel , and blasts Spenser with another beam, who is once again able to catch himself before falling over the edge. The dragons miss Lorthandriel this time.
Kiedro makes it onto the catwalk, and slams the drake next to him, attempting to send him over the edge, but doesn’t make him over the edge. Another lavaling crawls up and flied up to Spenser. I climb out of pit. Thorus moves up and kills the lavaling on Spenser, covering Spenser in Lava again. Lorthandriel cleaves into the dragon lying on the catwalk next to him, and heals himself. Spenser stands once again, this time hitting with both of his hurled hammers, laying into Lava Man, causing him, he now appears to be glowing less brightly with lava. Lecarde attacks the dragon and Lava Man, who are adjacent to one another.
Lava Man then calls up a spout of lava, directing it onto Kiedro, covering him in lava and knocking him on his ass. Who is then attacked by the dragon he was attacking. The other dragon then breaths Lorthandriel and Kiedro, but Kiedro was too low to be attacked, sending Lorthandriel over the edge to the grate below. Kiedro then stands up and attacks the dragon in front of him twice, hitting with the first attack, and is able to shake the lava off of him. I kill the lavaling on me, covering myself in its remains again, and move next to Lecarde.
Thorus heals Kiedro, and almost fells the dragon he was attacking. Lorthandriel heals himself and starts to climb out of the pit. Spenser hurls his hammers at Lava Man, hitting cleanly with both. Lecarde is once again able to attack both the dragon and Lava Man, who then moves to be above Lorthandriel , and bursts lava against Lorthandriel , Kiedro and Spenser, hitting all but Lorthandriel . Kiedro and Spenser believe they are covered in fire. The dragon moves up near me and Lecarde, breathing on us, hitting us both, pushing us away and knocks us prone.
Kiedro attacks the dragon that was knocked prone next to him, after it left the zone Lecarde created from his last attack, and Thorus casts Vampiric Weapons on the dragon that attacked myself and Lecarde. Lorthandriel makes it out of the pit, and nearly kill the dragon that breathed on me and Lecarde. Lecarde attacks Lava Man and the dragon again, hitting each, killing the dragon. Lava Man shoots his flame and Kiedro and Spenser, hitting each of them, sending Spenser over the edge, and knocking Kiedro prone. Kiedro charges, leaping off of the catwalk at Lava Man, cleaving into him with his frosty axe, shattering him into thousands of pieces, landing on his feet below. You could call it his signature attack, though he actually hit with it this time, he still did crash down onto the grate below. I don’t know who these people are, but we actually seemed to fight pretty well together here, I guess it just takes some time.
We decide to head back to the clean room, to rest. Lecarde finds himself dream walking/dreaming. We are in a vast quadruple valved chamber, like a heart that appears to be beating, and is made of nephilium. There is a sphere of pure light hanging in the air, surrounded by 3 columns of crystal, with a pedestal of crystal holding a huge book, a short distance from the sphere. Standing behind the podium with the book, is a man in a black cloak, similar to the one we had previously seen hanging in what we believe to be Madreus’ room, and the sphere is showing a portal to another world. He appears to be controlling our bodies, though we currently have our minds to ourselves. Suddenly the gate changes from a dark landscape, to a bright green wilderness, with Shayde charging and leaping through the gate, larger than we have ever seen him, who gives us back all of our powers, and giving us back control of our bodies.
We then see six demonic creatures, spread in an arch in front of us, between us and Madreus, two of which are large, and have stumps, with eyes encircling them, for heads. The other four are smaller and have small wings,
Madreus mentions something about now needing to destroy us, and how that is a shame. Blah, blah, blah, scary evil man needs to shut the fuck up and die already.
One of the massive demons also gets the drop on us, moving up more closely, behind one of the smaller demons.
Lecarde attacks two of the smaller demons, killing them, with their energy being visibly sucked within the void, and then moves up and kills off the other two smaller demons with another attack, sending their energy to the void. Seeing these demons killed I get a vision, I see myself shattering the bonds being used to enslave others, and see him behind their enslavement, time to knock his dick in the dirt.
One of the large demons reaches out and grabs Lecarde, pulling him adjacent to him, grabbing him tightly.
Lorthandriel starts singing, bolstering our spirits even further, and mentally attacks the demon¸ though he fails to move him from his spot. Kiedro is next up, charging the demon that has a grip on Lecard, laying into him with his axe. I charge him, missing with my shield. Spenser misses with both of his thrown hammers, not a very good start for either of us.
Thorus calls out his Punishing Eye, and misses with his crossbow, he is a bookworm after all I guess. Madreus fires two bolts of black lightning at the orb, one summoning 2 more little demons, and the other teleporting him closer. He then unleashes a psychic attack on Lorthandriel , Kiedro, Spenser and Thorus, sending everyone but Thorus reeling back in shock and pain. One of the little ones then flies up, next to Lecarde, and unleashes a psychic attack on Thorus and myself, drawing us in, and blowing itself up, damaging both of us, cannon fodder I guess it is for the little shits. The other large demon then moves up closer, grabbing Thorus, pulling him adjacent to himself.
Lecarde vanishes again, hitting the large demon that had grabbed him. The demon then squeezes Lecarde, maintaining his hold, and attacks me, landing a solid blow. I then lay into him, and move around him to his flank. Spenser then starts to tenderize him with his hammers.
Thorus sends a blast from Spenser’s armor, stepping out of the armor, next to Spenser. Madreus dominates me and Kiedro, taking control of our minds and actions. He’s just asking for an ass whoopin, I prick taking me over like that.
Lecarde shrouds himself and his immediate area in darkness, hitting the guardian demon, but fails to escape the grasp of the demon that has him in his grasp. Lorthandriel slashes the one that moved up into his face. Kiedro then charges Thorus, gashing him severely damaging him, I assume he’s dominated, but it may just be payback for making a fool out of him earlier. I then charge Lorthandriel, giving him a huge gash along his upper arm, but I am unable to break free of my domination.
Madreus once again moves up, and attacks Thorus, and Spenser sending them reeling again, along with the large demon that was attacking these guys. The demon then attacks Lorthandriel grabbing him, and nearly killing him. Lecarde blasts both of the large demons with thorns, pelting both of them. The demon holding Lecarde drags him with, as he moves to attack Thorus.
Lorthandriel then changes from his elven form, to that of a glowing amorphous being. We see a vision of him sitting at a desk, writing the last page of a book, and closing the book. He still can’t break free of the demon’s grip, but does manage to heal himself, from his near death state.
Kiedro then charges the demon holding Lecarde, laying into him with his axe, scoring a nasty strike across his chest. I then am forced to attack Thorus, hitting him, and finally freeing myself from his dickhead’s control.
Thorus appears to age before our eyes, and time appears to warp around him, and we get a vision of him breaking into some alchemist’s shop, and concocting an elixir to save his dying father.
Madreus points to the orb, commanding a little demon to ensure the gate stays open, it then moves over to the pedestal and starts to bang on it, like someone banging on a piano, almost reminds me of Thorus and Kiedro. Thorus tells us to look at the columns of nephilium, and we see them glowing, on green, red and blue, like those odd rods we’ve been lugging around for a long time now. Madreus then attempts to dominate Kiedro, but is unable to control him, finally controlling his mind, using four beams to do so, he may be a block head, but he can also be stubborn as hell, or is that what being a block head is? Meh, that’s for Lorthandriel and Thorus to care about, I could give a shit.
The demon grabbing Lorthandriel , squeezes him, and swings at Thorus, I think I heard a crack, that must have hurt, but then time appears to flow in reverse, this time the demon ends up missing Thorus. Lecarde kills the demon grabbing him. Lorthandriel , attacks the demon grabbing him, but is still unable to escape his grasp. Kiedro charges Spenser, almost killing him as, I move to attack the demon holding Lecarde, scoring a strong hit on him. Spenser then appears to enrage, growing larger, and we see a vision of our captivity, Spenser is being held back, surrounded by cages as other slaves are driven out of the group. He breaks free and tries to run to his brother, but does not reach his brother before an arrow pierces his skull, killing him.
Thorus moves away from Kiedro, not wanting to be on the receiving end of his wicked axe any more, as Madreus blasts us with another psychic blast, hitting Spenser, myself, and Kiedro sprawling and dazing us again, bloodying me. The demon then squeezes Lorthandriel as I duck under his swing, and he moves up into the group. Lecarde moves up to Madreus, leaping on him, grabbing and dazing him, our first real attack on him, delivering a nasty wound to him.
Lorthandriel then successfully hits the demon holding onto him, and heals Spenser. Kiedro then wildly misses Spenser, but cannot escape Madreus’ control.
I feel a surge of power, as I am overcome with the vision of me, in the middle of the slave section of the encampment, killing the last guard, giving a primal scream, that shatters the bonds holding the rest of the slaves. When I open my eyes after the scream, I see myself, I have enlarged, my veins and brands are indistinguishable, each pulsing with every heart beat, my body growing an shrinking as my heart beats, getting larger on the push, and smaller on the pull of the blood through my heart.
Spenser obliterates the guardian demon, with a masterfully placed shot, sending its essence back through the portal.
Thorus moves his Punishing Eye, and scores a grave strike on Madreus, with his Magic Weapon attack, healing Kiedro in the process. Lecarde bites at Madreus as he attempts to attack us with his mental attack, hitting only Thorus, sending him screeming, he then teleports across the room, getting away from Lecarde and his zone. Lecarde then moves, and charges at Madreus, leaping at him again, this time he is knocked to the side, as Madreus was prepared for the attack.
Lorthandriel moves away from Kiedro, who then swings at Thorus, but is unable to land a hit. Spenser and I move up towards Madreus, who then teleports using his bolt of lightning near the pedestal, and then dominates Lecarde. Lecarde then charges Spenser, leaping on him, sending him sprawling across the floor. Lorthandriel moves up, as Kiedro charges at Spenser, and in true Kiedro form, misses. Spenser then moves up and demolishes the demonling working the controls on the pedestal, who pulls what appears to be a blue rod from the control panel, which flies through the air, falling to the ground.
Thorus moves around Kiedro, and is able to shake of the dazing effects of Madreus’ previous attack on him. Madreus then moves up and blasts us all with his mental attack, hitting me, Lecarde, and Spenser, Thorus backs up time, forcing him to remake the attack, this time he misses Lecarde. Lecarde then moves up and leaps on Madreus again, knocking him to the ground once again.
Lorthandriel moves up, to enable himself to pick up the rod next turn. Kiedro then charges Spenser, hitting this time, bloodying him again. Spenser and I both move up, but are unable to get shake the haze from our minds.
Thorus then also runs up to the pedestal. Madreus emanates a blast, attacking Thorus, Lecarde and Lorthandriel , critting Lorthandriel , and hitting everyone else, which Thorus rolls back, making him remake the attacks, he still hits everyone, knocking everyone back, and preventing them from moving. The attack also bloodies Thorus. Madreus teleports to the pedestal, frantically trying to keep the portal open, as he works the controls. Lecarde calls forth lightning to strike at Madreus, but is still held in place by whatever magic he was using.
Kiedro then charges Thorus, but finally is able to shake Madreus’ compulsion. Spenser lands a glancing blow on Madreus, causing minor damage. Thorus has Fingers investigate the pedestal, to determine how it works, and he then misses Madreus with his attack. Madreus then fires a black bolt at me and Kiedro, dominating both of us.
Lecarde then rends Madreus, who deftly avoids his attack, while Lecarde is still unable to move from his spot. Lorthandriel slashes him across the back, though it appears to be a superficial wound. Kiedro then charges Lecarde, missing him, and breaking free of Madreus’ control. I am then forced to move up and attack Lecarde, but miss, and I am also able to retake control of my actions. Spenser moves up and charges Madreus, landing a respectable blow. Thorus picks up the blue rod, and proceeds to bury a quarrel deeply into his shoulder.
Madreus then shifts back, and blasts the entire group, hitting everyone but Lorthandriel ., Thorus makes him do the action over, this time he also misses Thorus. Lecarde hits Madreus, followed by Lorthandriel , who finally bloodies him.
Kiedro’s eyes turn black, and we feel he will not be able to tell friend from foe. The blood vessels in his extremities swell, and his teeth grow, as he appears more feral, and his face resembles that of a bear. He roars “I will avenge my family, I will kill my father’s murderer, I will not die with this name!” we see a vision of a rainy day of battle, showing him crushing the spine of the man who is responsible for the death of his father, and fall of his family.
Spenser hits him soundly with his hammer, missing with his other attack, but is still unable to move. I also catch him with my dagger, but and stuck in place.
Thorus then places the blue rod into the control panel, which then causes the pillar to glow a bright blue. Madreus moves up and teleports to the other side of the room. Lecarde goes running after him, missing with his lunging attack. Lorthandriel also moves up to get into range of his attacks. Kiedro rushes up, and then charges Madreus, and misses on the attack. I think half of Kiedro’s problem hitting anyone is that damned axe, way too big for anyone to properly wield, even an abnormally large rock man like him.
Thorus places all of the rods into the panel. Madreus then blasts Kiedro and Lecarde, hitting both of them. Madreus starts to move towards the panel, rage burning in his eyes now that the panel is activated and Thorus is trying to control it. Kiedro breaths fire on Madreus, who is unaffected, though Spenser’s hammer lands squarely. Thorus figures out how the device works, and tries to take control of it.
Madreus once again takes control of Kiedro, his favorite little pet. Lecarde then shifts up to Madreus, biting him in the flanks, throwing him to the ground. Lorthandriel moves up to Madreus, flanking him with Lecarde, landing a solid hit. Kiedro is then directed to charge Lecarde, and regains control of his senses. Spenser and I are both able to hit him, and can move again. Madreus then dominates Thorus, but fails against Kiedro. I run up and finish off Madreus, with a final gash from my effective kopesh, his body falls to the floor, and bubbles away, as the being who was controlling his body announces this is not his only gate, and we will be his when we are sent to the Abyss. Ooh, more bold talk from someone who doesn’t even have the balls to show his chicken-shit little head, so I can cut it off.
The gate then collapses into a black hole, and we feel ourselves being pulled in, and pass out. We awake in the back of a huge caravan, stripped of all gear, in a crate, surrounded by a wasteland of nothing but sand as far as we can see. The cage sits atop a huge beast, and there are more than a dozen of these beasts, all with similar cages full of prisoners. Hell fucking no, not again!

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The Return of Shayd

Standing in this hallway staring down the corridor I realize that I’m getting very antsy. Thorus wants to take his time and check for hidden dangers. He also wants to inspect the magical torches on the wall. I’m thinking about charging ahead with Thorus in tow. That’ll show the pip squeak for wasting time. I understand why we need to be cautious, there is a bit of wind and the magical torches are somewhat out of place. As I debate making a loud noise to startle my companions something else does the job for me. Next thing we know all the lights have been extinguished. Still feel a breeze and we can hear each other breathing. These short gasps that remind me of the seconds leading up to battle. We shortly realize that this is a magical darkness because even the drow can not see.

Suddenly a voice that we all recognize but most can’t seem to play speaks up. “Well it looks like its you again”. It slowly dawns on us that it is Shayd, the guardian from the Deep Woods just outside of Clover. He tells us that he was mortally wounded in combat. A battle that has taken over the deep woods and left most of it charred and burning. Darkness has swept over that land, and somehow he after he fell in battle he was brought to the room that we are just outside of now. He has been corrupted but there is just a small essence of the guardian left in him. He informs us that we will have to defeat him or we will tear us asunder. He gives us two choices though. Fight me as you see me now, an obviously powerful being, or he will use what little will he has left to make himself weaker. If we were to defeat him at full strength his spirit would return to Gaea. If he were to assist us he would be doomed forever and that some of his power would return to the master that now controls him, making him even stronger.

With a salute and a flash of steel we decide that if we can defeat him as is, it would be for the best. Just before I start swinging my hammers I say one last goodbye. “Please forgive us, and my Gaea guide you home.” And with that we engage in an epic battle that saw almost everyone of my comrades felled by serious wounds. I too was dropped by a rake across my chest. I could not carry on the fight and I sank to the ground defeated. Thankfully that little “pip squeak” Thorus moved to me and administered some sort of mushroom that gave me back a small amount of strength. Just enough to hurl one last hammer at Shayd that allowed him to return to Gaea. (2350xp and a Healers Sash)

After a short rest we realize that we are nearing the end and must continue although it looks as though most of the party is half dead. We appear almost fatigued, and we shuffle from room to room. The first room that we come upon is a circular room with what appears to be stars on the ceiling. After finding a control panel Throus starts playing with the controls. Making the room spin and then changing the stars to where they seem they will blind us all. Lecarde appears as though he may become ill between all the light and the swirling. I feel the same way but would never admit it while Gruudash is around.

Another room and another curiosity that has us all stopping to stair. In this room is a fountain. But unlike any we have ever seen. (I should have been taking better notes, for all I wrote was “Awesome fountain”). Lecarde decides that he is parched so he takes a drink. I’m not sure if Thorus’ antics in the previous room has just caught up to Lecarde or not, but his eyes roll back into his skull and he turns….pale. Not sure how that works but he somehow became even whiter. After some tense moments he tells us that he had a dream about Clover and an Orb. Not much else is said.

There is a door that leads from this room to what appears to be a bed chamber. Walls are covered in white drapes and there are candles everywhere. A bed that appears used but for very long it seems. It sees use but as if someone only comes in to get a short rest and then its back to business. Also in the room there is an onyx statue of a beautiful woman and a chest that contains a robe that depicts a skull with horns and 884g.

The last room we come across appears to be somewhat of a library which has Thorus eyeing the books so greedily that he almost misses the gnarled old dwarf sitting at a desk with a very shocked expression on his face. Lorth talks with the dwarf for a bit and then changes his appearance to look like a very strong dwarf. The old dwarf recognizes him and they speak of times past. We learn that his name is Nigel and that Lorth and Nigel used to adventure together with Welfast. Apparently Nigel is now being controlled by a man named Madreus (Spelling?) After some talk it appears that Nigel is a shell of his former self and he is obviously more than half mad. This is not the same dwarf that Lorth had known before. He pulls out a flask of some sort of strong booze and decides to reminisce with Nigel. As Nigel appears to shed a tear of memories almost forgotten Lorth slowly slides a dagger into his back. He is now at peace and can no longer aid the enemy. (500xp)

After searching the room Thorus finds a Tome of Understanding.

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